Posted Jun 14th, 2015 (5:54 pm) by Theresa Flanagan
Milo Greene
Image by Theresa Flanagan

It's summer in the Queen City, and that means music every which way you turn.

Especially since this week marked the 32nd annual Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. While hometown favorites (and IYS Speakerlist makers) Rubblebucket got busy causing a ruckus down at the Waterfront as part of the festival, Milo Greene served up a smoother slice in the Showcase Lounge at Higher Ground on their tour for Control.

They brought along fellow West Coasters Hey Marseilles to kick thing off. Though the Seattle-based sextet played plenty of material off their previous releases To Travels and Trunks and Lines We Trace, they also took the opportunity to pull out several new tracks. They have recently finished recording what will be their third album, hopefully due out sometime this fall. As their Facebook page states in no uncertain terms, there's no "fiddle" involved in their brand of indie rock (which appears to be a transition from their original self-designated label of orchestral folk pop). There is, however, a viola and cello involved—played by brothers Jacob and Sam Anderson respectively. Those are just two of the many instruments involved in their sound; the stage was jam-packed full of gear, only in small part due to Milo Greene's set up in the background.

We've yet to have a bad experience in the Showcase Lounge, and this was no exception. Though the show was far from full capacity, there was still a reasonably sized (and relatively varied) crowd gathered. This was a much better turnout than the Hey Marseilles was in town; they claimed only two people showed up! Which is a shame, because they put on a great show. Front man Matt Bishop has a voice that falls somewhere between Colin Meloy and Ben Gibbard. In combination with the aforementioned Andersons (who also play keys and electric bass), Nick Ward on guitar, Phil Kobernik adding in piano (and accordion, though we're not sure that actually made an appearance), and Colin Richey on drums, the band has a sound well worth listening to. Check out a couple tracks above, and keep an eye out for their new album - what we heard Saturday night sounds promising.

In contrast to their down to earth Seattle openers, Milo Greene brings a bit more production drama to the stage. Towards the end of the night, Marlena Sheetz gave us an explanation for their solely backlit setup: "I like to keep it dark to prevent pictures of me with a double chin from showing up on Instagram." Also, it just looks cool. As for their performance itself, not bad at all. Maybe not the highest energy show we've seen, but still plenty of fun. Interestingly, while Marlena takes a fairly central role on the new album she gets a bit buried live. Her lead vocals still managed to shine through on the slow burn "Perfectly Aligned." By contrast, Robbie Arnett's raspiness cuts through pretty much everything everything else to take center stage. It doesn't hurt that he's also the most dynamic member while they're playing, with a much stronger tendency than the rest of the band to move around. Overall though, the members of Milo Greene definitely keep things pretty balanced.

From their stage patter to the set list, each member had their moments of focus. Graham Fink described their last trip through Burlington, when they got snowed in for an extra 24 hours. This time around they took the extra time on purpose, inviting the audience to join them for breakfast at Penny Cluse….wait make that Magnolia on Sunday morning. Though they'd already played plenty of material off of Control by that point, Robbie introduced "On The Fence" by describing the new record as their "attempt to make some sexy dance music." It's definitely one of their dancier tracks, but it took some cajoling from Andrew Heringer about their moves the previous night to get the guys from Hey Marseilles (well, Phil at least) out on the floor dancing up a storm to their final song of the night "Lonely Eyes." You can find their set list in the gallery below, along with a couple other shots from the night.

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